The report said China, where the pandemic began, has already begun to recover and will see its economy grow 1.8% this year and 7.7% in 2021. Growth of 6.1% for China’s economy in 2019 was the slowest pace in decades .
Asia’s status as a manufacturing base for many medical products, digital devices and optical devices helped mitigate the trade shock from the pandemic fall, the report noted.
However, the decline is the worst since the early 1960s, the report said.
This has turned efforts to make hundreds of millions of people in our region live out of poverty, said ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada.
Governments in many countries have put in place border controls, blockades and other restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to prevent more outbreaks. But such measures come at a great economic cost.
To help offset, regional governments have pledged $ 3.6 trillion, equivalent to about 15% of regional economic activity, in subsidies, loans and other support to individuals and businesses.
But small businesses occupying most of the business in the region do not have the capital to cope with the crisis, the ADB said. He expects a recovery to be L-shaped, or swoosh-shaped rather than V-shaped.
Even with a recovery, economies will be significantly below expectations ahead of COVID-19, Sawada said.
A prolonged pandemic could plunge countries into debt crisis or destabilize their financial markets, the report said.
Another risk would be the escalation of geopolitical tensions, particularly the USPRC (China) friction potential for trade and technology to intensify, he said.
South and Southeast Asian countries have seen some of the worst devastation from the pandemic, with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand shrinking to double-digit shrinkage in the April-June quarter from a year earlier. All of their economies are expected to shrink by 5% or more this year.
Huge government spending will be essential to support their recoveries, the report said.
ADB said ensuring the improvement of health systems is also vital for sustainable growth.
Physical and mental wellness has taken a hit during the crisis, said Donghyung Park, an ADB economist said. A healthy mind and a healthy body, of course, is the first step in rebuilding the economy and society.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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